I don’t know how many times my yoga teacher told me that I just “had” to read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Many. Because I procrastinated for months before buying a copy. And several more months before actually reading it. Even though I was busy with two jobs, I had much more time to read then. Still, it took me forever to read it. Maybe I wasn’t full present to the Now or a growth mindset back then.
Sometimes Being Present Isn’t Pleasant
Initially, I didn’t like the idea of it, of being in the now. Dreaming comes more naturally to me than being present. I believe dreams aren’t a bad thing. Dreams can spur productivity. Dreams can lead to amazing accomplishments. However, dreams can also distract us from boredom or frustration with the present moment. Personally, dreams kept me going when I felt down about my circumstances. So, I was inwardly a bit grumpy about a book telling me to be present in the now. Reluctance to give up my dreams discouraged me from being mindful about why I spent time daydreaming rather than being present.
The Power of the Present Moment, and the Power of Yet
Years later, when I was the one teaching yoga, I read quotes from The Power of Now in my classes. Something about all the time in meditation, learning to quiet or at least be aware of the monkey mind, had me re-reading Eckart Tolle and finding a new kind of truth in The Power of Now. I started living with this idea in the back of my mind, ““Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
I agree that there is a peace in the present moment. When you are constantly fixing your attention on what you need to do or accomplish next in order to be at peace or happy, you are robbed of being fully present and feeling the moment you are in. When I can stay in the now, there is a greater sense of peace. But, lately, I’m also beginning to learn The Power of Yet. No, it’s not a new book you need to go seek out and read. It’s a revelation I had after spending a day in the midst of social media induced self-criticism.
Mindful Social Media
Social media can be such a Catch 22. When we are okay with ourselves and grounded in our truth, it’s okay. Conversely, when we are off center, the accounts that otherwise inspire cause us to start counting ourselves short. It’s easy to get stuck in ruminating on not being where we want to be. For example, I’ll see women who are doing amazing things—starting non-profits, risking it all and buying the small farm, women learning how to live by their own hands, women creating beautiful things, women providing financially for themselves and their families. It’s easy to look at my own life and start thinking about how I still haven’t figured out how to make much money from writing in any of my businesses…enter the Power of Yet.
Relaxing into Who You’re Meant to Be by Embracing the Power of Yet
I realized this after getting stuck in the muddy repeat track that I had been playing all day in my mind after starting my day with social media instead of gratitude (but that’s another story for another day). Though you probably know the track too, the one where you start comparing yourself to every amazingly beautiful and talented woman out there on the interwebs and telling yourself that you aren’t (fill in the blank). I had built quite a list. And then sometime in the late afternoon, I made myself a cup of rose-tulsi-hawthorn tea and felt something within me shift. I said out loud to myself, “I’m not any of those things. YET. But I can be one day.”
My shoulders immediately dropped an inch. An audible sigh of relief escaped my lips. Then, I thought to myself something even more powerful: even if I never accomplished any of those things, I could still love and accept myself. I’m still working on this kind of radical self acceptance. For now, even if I haven’t completely accepted myself, I have accepted that I’m happier by maintaining a growth mindset and embracing the Power of Yet. I may not be the business woman, wife, herbalist, storyteller, artist, maker, runner that I want to be. Yet. But someday I might be, After all, It’s Never too Late. And practicing the power of yet, making space for a growth mindset, to see the possibilities within me instead of the problems is just so freeing.